This probably isn’t a post that the majority of you guys will enjoy reading, but I love discussing things that inspire me. On Saturday, I had an amazing day at my friend’s house. We had a thoroughly enjoyable birthday get together with a barbecue and lots of random shenanigans (as always). I got home at around 3:20am and wanted to go to sleep, only I knew I’d have to wake up to pray at 4:40am. For those of you that don’t know, I’m a devoted Muslim who prays five times a day, so given the fact one of the five was timed for around 4:40am, I decided to stay up an hour and twenty minutes. Problem is, I was seriously tired. I mean I’d been up on Saturday since 7am, I’d played badminton for 2 hours, been at a barbecue stuffing my face all day and was in my room with my bed calling me at 3:20am, that hour and 20 minutes of staying up was going to be difficult.

I climbed into bed, sat up and figured I’d watch TV but I notice my Sky box is actually recording something already? Really? What on earth did I set to record at 3:30am on Saturday?! I switch to the channel in question and it hits me, boxing! I’ve never discussed boxing on this blog, but it is without a doubt my absolute favourite sport, I love almost every aspect of it. The passion, skill, dedication, aggression and the glitz and glamour that comes with it. I love all sports but I think that boxing is cut from a different cloth. I mean athletes train to be fit right? Then they use that fitness in the sport they’re trained in? But do they do that while getting punched in the face? Boxers do. This is what makes it the most difficult sport and this is what makes me love it. No diva shit, no showing off with no reason. These guys get punched in the face all year and the majority of them are more humble and likeable than the footballers of the English Premier League! Boxers have a hard life, only a really small percentage of them make it and earn real money. Of the ones who earn real money, too many of them end up in unfortunate circumstances. With slurred speech, brain damage, no friends and no life. Heck look at Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. Remember they had their infamous ear biting fight? They were both massively successful boxers and multimillionaires, especially “Iron” Mike! Now they’re both broke and Holyfield is still boxing at the age of 48 just so he can pay his child support bills. A sad future awaiting you is common in boxing. You do get the happy endings as well though. There are plenty of boxers who are retired and happy now, just look at “Prince” Naseem Hameed and Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton. They’re both fat little men, they’re enjoying their retirement and imagine they made a boxing come back? Those podgy bastards would be heavyweights! Haha!

Prince Naseem (Before/After)

Before and After. Looking good Prince....errrr not!

Ricky Fatton

Ricky..err Fatton?

So the fight in question was between Erik “El Terrible” Morales and Marcos “El Chino” Maidana. In case you’re unsure who these guys are, Erik Morales is one of the greatest boxers of all time. He fought in the lower weight classes through the 90’s so won’t be someone who casual fans will know. He (like most Mexican boxers) has a really small frame and in his heyday fought at 122lbs and 126lbs. That’s pretty small for a guy and I bet a lot of women weight more than that! There is a lot less money and glamour in boxing when men are small, people tend to think it’s all about the Middleweights and Heavyweights, but it really isn’t. The lower weights are more often than not, more exciting and fun than the heavier ones but they just never got the recognition they deserved, Prince Naseem changed that. He made a lot of people take notice of the lower weight classes, with his brash character and arrogant manner. Manny Pacquiao then took that to a whole new level with his success, but people don’t realise guys like Erik Morales paved the way for the likes of Pacquiao to do what they do today. In fact, do you know who the last person to beat Manny Pacquiao was? El Terrible himself, Erik Morales! Morales gave Pacquiao a real lesson on how to box and sent him back to the Philippines with his tail firmly between his legs. Of course Pacquiao bounced back and beat him later, but Morales has become a shadow of his former self. Morales fought 57 times professionally and 114 times in the amateurs. That is a long, tough career and it was to get worse fighting one of the worlds deadliest boxers in Marcos Maidana. This tough son of a gun is one of the most ruthless fighters of the modrn era. He’s from Argentina and has the nickname “El Chino” because he looks slightly Oriental (“Chino” is Spanish for “Chinese”). Maidana was the guy who recently fought Amir Khan and almost had him knocked out on his feet in the 10th round, Khan looked lost, his senses weren’t there and he could easily have lost right there. Maidana is a beast, no doubt about it.

So on one side you have Erik Morales, a guy who spent most of his career at 122lbs and who had fought 7 or 8 times too many. On the other side you had the young hungry beast Marcos Maidana, who is at the pinnacle of his career, fights at 140lbs and punches like a mini Mike Tyson. Absolutely everyone wrote Morales off, they thought he wouldn’t last 3 rounds with a guy as vicious as Maidana. Not only did he last the full 12 rounds, but he gave Maidana a trip to hell and back in the process!

From the opening bell, Morales got hit hard in the eye. Oh my, it was pretty gruesome, he had a lump the size of a tennis ball! It was if someone just thumped him in the head with a sledge hammer. I think this happened around one and a half minutes into the fight, I was literally cringing and hiding under my quilt at the thought of one of my favourite fighters being knocked out so badly and getting life long injuries. His eye was completely swollen shut, from round 1 on, he’d have to fight with his left eye only against one of the toughest meanest men on the planet. You might think I’m exaggerating how bad his eye was, but see below for proof!

Erik Morales Eye

Yikes, it gets worse every time I see it!

So it was looking like a formality. Maidana beating on Morales, bullying him, dishing out punishment and simply making him look his age. Then suddenly, from rounds 2 till 10, Morales just found something. I can’t explain what it was, only he can, but he started hurting Maidana, hitting him with smart accurate punches, coming up into his face and bullying the bully. Maidana looked completely stunned. In rounds 7 and 8 in particular, Maidana was back peddling, trying to get away from the “has been old man” so many labelled Morales. He fought with his heart on his sleeve, fantastic determination and amazing skill, what more can you expect from this humble and talented warrior. By round 8 I was literally jumping up and down shouting “knock him out El Terrible!!!” as if my cheering would inspire him to do so haha! Fortunately for Maidana, Morales got tired in the last few rounds and this allowed “El Chino” to do more damage in the final stretch. By the time the fight ended no one knew who had won, it seemed too close to call and I had no idea who would get the decision. In the end, Maidana prevailed by a close margin, but many boxing fans (reporters and experts included) thought Morales had sneaked the victory, or that at the absolute minimum it was a draw. I was bitterly disappointed, but overjoyed at the same time. I mean almost everyone wrote Morales off, but he defied the odds and critics to put in a performance most of us could only dream of, and he did it well past his prime. Before the fight he asked the media “am I the only person who thinks I can win?” it was greeted with silence, and perhaps a lot of people would have laughed at the idea of him getting the victory. He may not have won the fight, but he sure as hell won the occasion and who do you think is laughing now?

When I went to bed, I couldn’t sleep, I was too excited at what I’d just witnessed and I pay tribute to Erik “El Terrible” Morales. The guy is an inspiration for everyone and let me tell you why. In life you have your critics, you have people who laugh at you and say you don’t have the ability to pursue your dreams. There are people who dismiss your accomplishments and try to put you down whenever they can, sometimes they have reason to but even when they do, it’s a rough feeling. However, if you get upset about it or give up, those critics will have won. Prove them wrong. Prove them wrong with determination and heart. Prove them wrong because no goal is impossible and even if you think you’re not good enough to do it, give it a shot and you might just surprise yourself. The outcome of this fight didn’t go Erik Morales’ way, Maidana won. But in the future when we look at history, people will remember it for Morales defying the odds and proving us all wrong, not for Maidana winning. This should be a lesson to all of us, sometimes losing gives us more opportunities in life than winning, the most important thing in life is to try as hard as you can. The sky is the limit. Arainmunda signing out.

Erik "El Terrible" Morales

Erik "El Terrible" Morales, living legend.

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